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Officer hopped to multiple departments after reported issues, lawsuits

Curtis screenshot for web.jpg
Posted at 7:00 PM, Jun 12, 2024

Not long after a Frankfort police detective’s reported warrantless entry into a home led to dismissed charges and strong words from a judge last summer, he was able to get a job at a different agency in another county. It wasn’t the first time he was accused of similar behavior.

Larry “Guss” Curtis worked at the Frankfort Police Department for five years, and his personnel file there shows his supervisor reported a number of issues. But the incidents that led to two federal lawsuits against Curtis don’t appear to be among the issues documented in the file.

Curtis told LEX 18 that he disputes all of the allegations against him, and that more facts will come out over time.

The incident last summer led to the most recent federal lawsuit. That lawsuit states that Frankfort mother Kimberly Myers was at home on July 7, 2023 when Officer Curtis arrived at the door with another officer and members of social services for a welfare check.

Myers opened the door and was speaking with Curtis, body camera footage obtained by LEX 18 shows. When Myers asked him if he had a warrant, Curtis said “no” and pushed his way inside, injuring Myers’ foot, according to the lawsuit and video.

In a hearing this year, Franklin County District Court Judge Kathy Mangeot said that the body camera footage showed concerning inconsistencies with the citation Curtis wrote in Myers’ criminal case.

“The body camera footage instead shows Mr. Curtis barging through the front door, eventually forcing himself entirely into the residence, placing his hands on the defendant, twisting her arm backward, and immediately instructing the accompanying uniformed officer to handcuff her after she merely asked him if he had a warrant to enter her home,” Mangeot said in the hearing.

Mangeot ended up dismissing the counts against Myers.

“After reviewing the body cam footage multiple times thinking surely to goodness I had missed something, it instead became glaringly apparent to me that Mr. Curtis had zero respect for the constitution for which he took an oath and swore to uphold,” Mangeot said in the hearing.

Curtis resigned from the Frankfort Police Department in 2023, weeks after the incident with Myers. He was soon hired by the Boyle County Sheriff’s Office, where he was fired after a few months.

KLEC Review

Law enforcement agencies are required by law to turn over the files of officers who resign while under investigation for fireable offenses to the Kentucky Law Enforcement Council (KLEC), but Curtis’ Frankfort file didn’t appear to show that there was an investigation.

The KLEC has the power to revoke an officer’s certification.

While Frankfort police did not turn Curtis’ file over to KLEC, Boyle County Sheriff’s Office did.

“KLEC received notice of a personnel change for Larry "Guss" Casey Curtis II from the Boyle County Sheriff’s Office indicating that he had been terminated while under criminal and administrative investigation,” KLEC said in a statement.

The council also said that Curtis’ case was reviewed in May, and that it was referred to “13B proceedings for decertification.”

A prior incident

Less than a month before the incident with Myers, a separate incident involving Curtis was caught on body camera.

Curtis reached out to an agency outside his jurisdiction, Nicholasville Police Department, to ask them to contact a man related to an “investigation,” according to body camera footage and a Nicholasville police memorandum.

But when the responding Nicholasville police officer started talking to the man, he learned that Curtis’ request involved a personal matter. Curtis can be heard on speakerphone in the body camera footage telling the man to give money he felt he was owed to the Nicholasville police officer or he would get a warrant.

A prior lawsuit

Several years before the incidents last summer, Curtis was named in a different lawsuit that alleged unlawful entry.

In that lawsuit, it states that in August 2018, a 21-year-old man was walking to his girlfriend’s apartment when he was stopped and questioned by Curtis, another officer, and a sheriff’s deputy. The three questioned the man about a series of alleged thefts from vehicles in the area. The man allowed the officers to search him and they released him.

When the man got to the girlfriend’s house, he told her about what happened, according to the lawsuit. The girlfriend, frustrated with what happened, walked outside and yelled at the officers as they drove by.

The lawsuit alleges that Curtis and the other officer then unlawfully entered the apartment, beat the man who’d been questioned and then arrested both him and his girlfriend without probable cause.

The man was charged with hindering prosecution or apprehension and resisting arrest, and his girlfriend was charged with second-degree disorderly conduct. All of those charges were later dismissed.

In video obtained by LEX 18 of a 2019 court hearing in the criminal case tied to that lawsuit, Curtis testified that he was in “hot pursuit” when he entered the home without a warrant. The prosecutor acknowledged at that point that it was likely not a case of “hot pursuit” because no one was suspected of a felony, but later in the hearing, the prosecutor walked that statement back.

That lawsuit appears to have been settled.

Attorney L. Scott Miller is defending Curtis in the lawsuit filed by Myers.

“The complaint only presents one view and doesn’t accurately reflect all the facts of the case,” Miller said in a statement. “The video also has a limited perspective and doesn’t tell the whole story. Therefore, we will continue to put forth our client’s side of the story within the constraints of the lawsuit itself. Further comments on pending litigation will be made in court as the legal process unfolds.”

Another attorney, Frankfort city commissioner Kyle Thompson, also sent a statement on behalf of Curtis saying that there is evidence that “exonerates” Curtis in any allegations in Boyle County’s referral to KLEC.